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Islamic State 'claims responsibility' for terror attack in Iran that killed 84

People stay next to destroyed cars after an explosion in Kerman, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024.
People stay next to destroyed cars after an explosion in Kerman, Iran, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. Copyright Tasnim News Agency via AP
Copyright Tasnim News Agency via AP
By Greta Ruffino
Published on Updated
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Once-powerful group has made something of a return with a string of attacks of varying size in different countries.

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The so-called Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for yesterday's double bomb attack in Iran, which killed at least 84 people and injured nearly 300.

The announcement was made via Telegram account, where IS claimed that the attack was carried out by two militants wearing explosive vests.

Iran announced that it would take "revenge" on those responsible for the attack, the largest and bloodiest attack on Iranian soil since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and Iran's First Vice President Mohammad Mokhbir promised "revenge" for the explosions that killed and injured dozens of people.

The attack happened in the southeastern city of Kirman, at an event commemorating the death of former IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani. Two separate explosions were set off in quick succession near the cemetery, hitting crowds of mourners as well as emergency workers arriving to deal with those injured by the first blast.

Some Iranian news agencies claimed that the number of wounded was much higher than officially announced, and the death count has been revised first upward and then downward.

A man carries the body of a victim in a body bag following two explosions in the Iranian city of Kerman.
A man carries the body of a victim in a body bag following two explosions in the Iranian city of Kerman.Sare Tajalli/AP

Qassem Soleimani became a hero to many pro-government Iranians for his part in training Shia militias active in Iraq during the US occupation. He was killed on a street in Baghdad by an American drone strike in 2020, sparking a brief escalation of tensions between Tehran and Washington.

"The perpetrators of the terrorist attacks in Kirman will be dealt with harshly," Khamenei said.

"The evil and murderous enemies of the Iranian nation have once again caused tragedy and many people have been martyred," he added. "The hard-hearted criminals could not tolerate people who respect Qassem Soleimani".

"They should know that the followers of the bright path of Qassem Soleimani will not tolerate their infamy and crimes."

The IRGC, meanwhile, described Wednesday's attack as "a cowardly act aimed at creating insecurity and taking revenge against the nation's deep love and devotion to the Islamic Republic of Iran".

The IRGC said the attack "strengthened their resolve to punish the perpetrators in a decisive and just manner."

Brussels condemned the attacks

Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, issued a statement on behalf of Brussels.

"The EU condemns in the strongest terms the bombing in the city of Kerman in Iran. This shocking act of terror has cost the lives of innocent civilians, with many injured," he wrote.

"The EU expresses its solidarity with the Iranian people. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families."

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